In the last post, I talked about the the biggest positive impact in enabling change, Agility, how to recognise it and also develop it. This article is about enabling people to change by defining different behaviours to enable the change.
The role that a “change agent” plays in the organisational change is significant. Change agents do not have to be the leader of the change. Rather, change agents are people that are considered to be key supporters and enablers of the change.
The old methods of change, talk about change as an event or a series of events that are led by someone who is specifically given the task.
The method is concerned with getting people to buy-in to the change, almost like they are passengers on a “change bus”. Imagine a London red bus that you can hop on and off of at any point. Is that what you want your people to feel and engage in as part of the change? This method also relies on building trust, compliance and commitment. Again, back to the Red bus metaphor: you trust that the driver knows the route, is safe and considerate and will get you to your destination on time. You, as the passenger have to buy a ticket to get on the bus and conclude your journey - that is the compliance part and the commitment is that you will not get frustrated at the time the journey is taking, or get worried about the passenger that just got on, and get off before the journey ends.
The new methods of change, built around an engaged set of change agents at all levels of an organisation, concern change as a constant theme. It is about setting the context for the change in the broader world and market; seeking active employee feedback on the key changes that need to occur; prioritising coaching and support of the change, rather than change events on their own; as well as allowing the employees opportunities to try new things without fear of ridicule and rejection - positively allowing them to succeed as well as fail.
It is all about the emotional engagement, rather than a sequence of tasks. You need to “get inside their heads” as it were. You can consider the following questions as a way to engage the employees in the change:
Q: What is the underlying challenge? A: Lack of new customers.
Q: What is the business goal? A: Grow the number of new customers by x.
Q: What type of business decisions do you need to make to help us grow the number of customers? A: I need to be aware of our products and services and the benefits they bring when talking to customers.
Q: What information would you need to help you achieve that …… “awareness” A: I need product brochures and an understanding of the benefits.
Q: How would you explain the benefits to someone not in our business A: Think about describing it to your partner, mum, friend.
How you as a change agent can help effect the change is all about walking the shoes of the people that are experience the change.